The Boston Red Sox offense and pitching staff should be glad the second month of the regular season is over. With a dreadful 1-6 road trip to cap off the month— thanks in big part to an error by third baseman Pablo Sandoval to start the inning— they blew a 4-3 lead in the ninth on Sunday against the Texas Rangers.
The team finished with a 10-19 record in their 29 games. The pitching staff finished with a cumulative ERA of 4.12, which ranked tied for 21st in all of MLB with the Miami Marlins. The starters rank dead last in the majors with a 5.05 ERA and a 15-23 record through 51 games. The relievers are pretty respectable with a 3.50 ERA, which is 15th in MLB and 7th in the American League. The bullpen, however, blew three of nine save opportunities in the month of May and really had trouble in those close games in the past 30 days.
The offense really let the team down in May with only 2.8 runs per game during the 29-game stretch. The 82 run record puts them last in all of baseball, including fewer runs than the Philadelphia Phillies (94), New York Mets (95) and even the Miami Marlins (97). The team hit .237 for the month, which is the 7th worst average in the majors for the month and 3rd worst in the AL.
The hitting with runners in scoring position has been no better as the team is 2nd worst in the American League while hitting with a .221 clip in those situations. The team is 4th worst overall with runners on second and/or third. The month of May saw games where the Red Sox could not sniff a hit with RISP and it has nearly cost them the season. Luckily, the team is in the AL East and, with 111 games to go, only trails the New York Yankees and the Tampa Bay Rays by four games.
The strange thing about all these offensive struggles has been the lack of strikeouts the opponent’s have been piling up. In 51 games, the Red Sox are the second hardest team to strikeout with 327 total strikeouts, which averages out to about 6.4 each contest; the only team lower is the Kansas City Royals with 278.
What this stat tells me is that the Red Sox are running into a lot of outs by swinging early in the count, especially with a league-low .267 batting average on balls in play (BABIP). In comparison with the number above, the Royals’ BABIP ranks fourth with a .315.
If the Red Sox hope to even think about contending this season, then the team needs to start scoring runs when the pitchers keep them in games by hitting with runners in scoring position and making sure to get productive outs. It all starts with the months changing and a little home cooking in June as the team plays 15 of its 28 games at Fenway Park this month.